Are You Gonna Break My Heart by Ezra Furman
By; Natalie Burris
Three months into 2012 and this already feels like the album of the year. Packing up his knapsack of tricks, Ezra Furman temporarily parted ways with his band, The Harpoons, and headed toward the ol’ americana highway to venture a solo voyage- but not before stopping by his two favorite uncles Tom and Alex (Waits and Chilton), who passed down to him their secret roadmap. Ezra followed the path, and with little pitstops of his own, returned with the greatest road-trip souvenir this side of a Highway 61 road sign, “The Year of No Returning”. The album begins with “Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde”, taking instrumental influence from Swordfishtrombones-era Waits. I await Wes Anderson to pick-up this song for his next slow motion scene. From the beginning, surprising instrumentation chimes in at the perfect moments and continues throughout the entire record. “That’s When It Hit Me” has a fifties rock n roll sound, while “Lay In The Sun” is like a Big Star version of a fifties doo-wop classic. “Bad Man” captures the best parts of a Daniel Johnston song with whispers that slightly haunt you–in the friendly ghost way, of course. “Cruel, Cruel World” stays true to an early Dylan sound while, “American Soil” is a protest song in the best Dylan tradition, preachy (even says he’s going to write us a Bible!)-but amazingly doesn’t come off as sanctimonious. This is definitely the breakthrough album for Mr. Furman. What began as a musical adventure turned out to be a vision quest. Let’s hope he continues to bring us mementos of this scale from his further musical explorations.